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In her own words: Palin accuses McCain's staff of ruining her image in Alaska

Palin2 We finally have our hands on a copy of "Going Rogue: An American Life" and for those interested in the battle royal that Sarah Palin fought with the campaign staff of her Republican presidential running mate, Sen. John McCain, there are juicy details.

She blames McCain's staffers, particularly his campaign manager Steve Schmidt, for ruining her reputation in Alaska.

In one anecdote, she reveals how she was admonished after trying to maintain the same easy relationship with Alaska radio hosts that she had enjoyed as governor. She learned that the hard way one day with McCain on his campaign bus.

"Many reporters had my personal cell phone number and I had theirs," she writes. "That's the way we operated. It helped us govern. So as the campaign bus barreled down a freeway somewhere in the middle of America, I punched up KWHL on speed dial.

"'Hey Bob, it's Sarah?'

"'Governor!' Bob said. 'Good to hear from you! Finally!'

"'Hey, I wanted to touch base and I've got a true American hero sitting right here with me, and you should feel honored to hear him say hello. I'm going to put him on the line so he can say hi to Alaska."

That did not go over well with McCain staffers who told Palin's staff, "Don't ever let her do that again."

Her response: "Oops.. I suppose my handing John the phone with a radio host on the other end could be considered breaking their proper protocol...[but] it didn't seem particularly improper, especially for a man whose campaign bus was called the 'Straight Talk Express.' "

She was pretty sure McCain wasn't bothered, "But the lectures from on high began about my talking to the media, especially the Alaska media."

McCain campaign manager Schmidt, who is the all-around Bad Guy in Palin's book puts it simply to her: "Alaska has three electoral votes. You don't need to contact the Alaska media again."

Palin says her top aide, Meghan Stapleton, begged McCain's staff to let Palin speak with Alaska reporters who had traveled to the Lower 48 to report on their governor. Palin figured that she would benefit if the national media picked up stories written by reporters "who knew me and had been reporting on me for years. Maybe that would help counter the spin of so many other stories."

It was not to be. After one campaign event, she tried to break away to speak with an Anchorage reporter, but a campaign handler grabbed her by the elbow and hustled her away. "It was not a respectful thing to do," she writes. Later, the reporter wrapped up his piece this way: "And the Sarah Palin we once knew, is gone."

It's probably wishful thinking on Palin's part that speaking to Alaska reporters would have softened her image, given that around the same time she would accuse Barack Obama of "palling around" with terrorists.

But the Alaska press, she writes, "decided I was ignoring them and maybe thinking I'd grown too big for my britches."

-- Robin Abcarian

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The secret Sarah Palin speeches we never heard

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Photo: Palin with McCain at a Michigan rally, September 2008. Credit: Jeff Kowalsky / European Pressphoto Agency

Comments () | Archives (6)

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Why is the media feel it so important to slam Sarah Palin.

A woman who got rid of political corruption in Alaska and made her state better for the people.

You'd think California would be begging her to come here and do some good.

This excerpt of her book proves what I've known the first time she opened her mouth, she's an idiot!

It wasn't the was the gibberish that came from her mouth.

She should be thanking McCain. Do you think anyone would be paying her millions for her book before he yanked her out of obscurity? What a greedy ingrate.

Having served as a two-term mayor for the city of Kiana, I can say that serving as a leader wasn't always easy. There were times where because of some misunderstanding harsh words were said and hurtful actions were taken.

Today I can look back and say that all-in-all it was a job well worth the effort. To some that tried to discredit me for personal reasons I just let them be. In time we were able to come full circle and show genuine respect for one another.

In the final analysis,people can only ruin our reputation only if we allow them to. With prayer and God's wisdom, we have the God-given ability and choice not to be offended by what others do to hurt us. We can skillfully deflect those hurtful things and see how they work out to our own personal good.

No, what ruined Palin's reputation with the Alaska press were the ridiculous "Truth Squad" press conferences held here by her personal spokesliar, Meg Stapleton, and a McCain campaign operative, Ed O'Callahan.

They made shrill, sleazy, manipulative attempts to derail the Troopergate investigation by trashing good Alaskans like Walt Monegan, who was fired for "going rogue," as Stapleton explained.

It didn't help that Palin allowed O'Callahan to run the governor's office in her absence, either.

Or that she refused to answer substantial questions from Alaska reporters once she did come back.

Or that Alaskans got a good look at how much she was willing to exaggerate her very few accomplishments and just plain fabricate other stuff.

Pretty much like this entire book, now that I think about it.

She should be thanking McCain. Do you think anyone would be paying her millions for her book before he yanked her out of obscurity? What a greedy ingrate.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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